As the 2015 NFL Draft nears, ClevelandBrowns.com is ramping up its coverage to ensure fans know everything about the team's potential picks.
The Browns have two of them in the first round, of course, so there's plenty of turf to cover.
On the radar will give you a glimpse at the nearly two dozen names being mentioned in the same breath as the Cleveland Browns. Today, we dive into our first of a handful of edge rushers, Missouri's Shane Ray.
Vitals: 6-foot-3, 245 pounds
Who's linking him to Cleveland?
Why the Browns would be interested: Much has been made about the Browns' struggles against the run in 2014, but the pass rush could use some new pieces, too. Cleveland ranked 27th in the league in sacks and, other than Paul Kruger, consistency was lacking in terms of wrapping up quarterbacks. In terms of pure game tape, Ray's is up there with projected top-five pick Dante Fowler Jr.. The Missouri alum broke the school record for career sacks (38.5), which was previously held by Aldon Smith and Michael Sam.
Why he could be around at 12: The chances aren't good – but they aren't impossible. NFL.com's four latest mock drafts have Ray gone by pick No. 7 to the Chicago Bears. Then again, there are others, like CBSSports.com, that have Ray falling all the way to the Houston Texans at No. 16. An average Pro Day performance from Ray has some scouts less enthused than they were a month ago.
Why he won't be around at 12: The appeal with Ray is that he fits in both a 4-3 defense as a pass-rushing end and in a 3-4 as a standup outside linebacker. Ray is explosive and still might be the strongest pound-for-pound rusher in the draft (at 245 pounds, he can bench 400). Ray is a playmaker opposing SEC offenses had to plan around and could project to be the same at the NFL level.
Stat to know: Ray's 22.5 tackles for a loss were the most in the entire country, proving he can also make plays in the running game. Quote to note: "I feel like I bring everything you need as a defender to the table. I play with a lot of passion and a lot of energy. I'm really physical. I've shown that I can make plays in the open field, that I can drop into coverage. Throughout my career, my coaches moved me all around the defense. I've played over three-techniques and beat guards, I've stood up and rushed from the middle, I've dropped into coverage and came back and covered guys coming out of the backfield. And I've just displayed my speed consistently." – Ray
The last time: Missouri has had 10 defensive linemen selected in the draft since 2001, including Sheldon Richardson (Jets), Aldon Smith (49ers), Ziggy Hood (Jaguars) and Kony Ealy (Panthers).